Auto Care Association

AAIA announces 2012 Head of Class Award winners

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has announced the recipients of its 2012 Head of the Class Award, honoring six aftermarket companies. The award is administered by the AAIA Education Committee on behalf of the association, and was created to highlight and recognize companies that continually invest in employee education and training and to promote the value and benefit that this investment provides to the employees and their companies, and also the entire aftermarket industry.

The 2012 winners, designated by aftermarket category, are:

  • Manufacturer (Large): The Timken Co., Canton, Ohio
  • Manufacturer (Mid-Size): Gold Eagle Co., Chicago, Ill.
  • Warehouse Distributor: Automotive Parts Headquarters, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Jobber (Education/Training of Employees of Company Owned Stores):
    Crow-Burlingame Co., Little Rock, Ark.
  • Retail: VIP-Parts, Tires & Service, Lewiston, Me.
  • Repair Shop: Gustafson’s Auto Clinic, Inc./Tirecraft, Athabasca, AB, Canada

“It is inspiring to discover how forward-thinking aftermarket companies are empowering their people through the adoption of education programs and by encouraging participation in continuous learning opportunities,” said AAIA Education Committee chairman Mike Mohler, National Pronto Association. “These companies understand the transforming power of employee education in terms of profitability, relevance and the strategic positioning of their business in a crowded and competitive marketplace. These companies don’t look at training merely as an expense; rather, they consider employee education to be one of the many essential ingredients in an overarching plan for operational excellence. Join us in applauding the efforts of this year’s Head of the Class winners for their vision and steadfast commitment to the continuous improvement of their most precious resource… their people.”

Winners were selected based on the education and training practices of the company, including what prompted the company to invest in training, the types of training accomplished, the initial goals, their experiences, results of the training and any future plans. Each of the winning companies exhibited a dedicated and continuing investment in enhancing the quality and level of learning and skill development in their companies.

The recipients will be recognized at AAIA's Town Hall breakfast at AAPEX, Wednesday, Oct. 31 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nev. They will also receive an award to display at their place of business and information on their winning programs will be posted on the AAIA website at More information about these companies and their education initiatives will be featured in upcoming issues of Aftermarket Insider.

The AAIA Education Committee invites companies to submit their company education and training stories for the 2013 Head of the Class Awards. More information on how to apply will be available in spring 2013.

For more information, e-mail